New grant program targets community residents

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While most grants are leveraged by nonprofit and community organizations, a new collaborative grant program will distribute funds directly to area residents completing neighborhood improvement projects.


Thanks to a team effort of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Zilber Family Foundation and Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual, residents will have direct access to grant funds as they work to enhance the beauty, safety and overall appear of their neighborhoods.

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The new grant program, dubbed Community Connections, will award up to $500 to community members working in groups of three or more across 21 Milwaukee neighborhoods.

“We’re able to have a greater impact on the community when we collaborate with others that have similar goals,” said John Kordsmeier, president of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, which is guiding Northwestern Mutual’s involvement in Community Connections. “This program enables small groups of thoughtful, committed Milwaukee residents to make contributions to drive positive change, which we hope will lead to a bigger movement of getting others in their neighborhoods to join them.”

Grant funds will support projects related to after-school and youth-led programs, beautification, safety, health and wellness, literacy and adult education, public art, community festivals and events, and urban gardens.

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“This program is aimed at building a network of actively engaged resident leaders,” said Susan Lloyd, executive director of the Zilber Family Foundation. “Along with making improvements to neighborhoods, we hope the program strengthens the sense of community and increases feelings of neighborhood ownership among residents.”

Funding will be available to residents investing in Amani, Baran Park, Capitol Heights, Clarke Square, Concordia, Harambee, Havenwoods, Johnsons Park, Layton Boulevard West, Lincoln Village, Lindsay Heights, Martin Drive, Metcalfe Park, Muskego Way, Riverwest, Sherman Park, Silver Spring, Thurston Woods, Tower Hill Waukesha, Old North Milwaukee and Washington Park neighborhoods.

Applications are currently available and are due on July 1.

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Community Connections will complete two grant cycles each year. A maximum of $30,000 in grants will be awarded during each cycle.

For more information on the grants, visit

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